Historic Jund Midrange Deck Guide: The Best Threats and Interaction
Table of Contents
Hey everyone! In today’s article I want to evaluate and update one of Historic’s top boogeymen, Jund Midrange in the wake of Shadows Over Innistrad (SIR) and the Arena Championship 2. At the recent Arena Championship featuring Historic, Jund was the most-represented archetype with 7 decks making up 22.6% of the metagame. When combined with Rakdos Midrange (4 decks, 12.9%), BR midrange decks were 35.5% of the field and put 3 decks into the Top 8, with JMM making it to the semifinals piloting Rakdos after defeating Karl Stelzner’s Jund in the quarterfinals. I’ve been having a great time grinding the Arena ladder with Jund, hitting Mythic with a very respectable 68% win rate.
For those unfamiliar with Arena’s non-rotating Constructed format of Historic, it features a metagame that is both wide and deep, with many viable decks across all major archetypes (midrange, combo, control, and aggro). The power level is fueled by having access to every card on Arena (outside of banned cards), including an array of busted Alchemy cards like Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion and Crucias, Titan of the Waves that unlock broken abilities only possible in digital game play. Even Expressive Iteration is legal, a card that’s banned in Legacy! It’s a fast, fun, and furious format that offers powerful options for every play style. Here is my current list:
Before diving into the list and presenting its merits, why are these BR midrange decks so attractive in Historic? The answer is simple: powerful consistency. The basic game plan of combining premium discard, removal, and value-generating threats is a flexible and proactive way to have game against any deck in the format so that you’re never much of an underdog, are often favored, and have plenty of draws that completely blank almost anything your opponent could be doing. In fact, midrange decks have some of the highest win percentages on the draw since they are so interactive, with my own win rates being even on the play and the draw. The main deck can be tweaked to gain equity against whatever other decks are most threatening at a given moment in the metagame, and the sideboard is a major strength as you greatly improve in all matchups and have devastating silver bullets to tutor for with Crucias, Titan of the Waves. On top of all that, the game play itself is rich and enjoyable if you like having a lot of agency and knowing that every single decision and use of resources is critical. The deck has a very high skill ceiling and rewards deck mastery, detailed sideboard plans, and a deep knowledge of opposing deck’s threats and game plan.
By adding green to Rakdos Midrange, we trade a little bit of consistency for additional firepower in Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion. This card allows you to freely play spells from your graveyard (and doesn’t even exile them!), which feels busted in a deck that looks to play the best individual spells at each point in the curve. A good Jarsyl draw looks like this:
Turn 1: Discard spell or removal spell.
Turn 3: Play Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion with Intensity 1 pre-combat, re-cast your 1-mana spell for free from your graveyard, attack with Bloodtithe Harvester. Jarsyl’s intensity moves to 2.
Turn 4: Use Bloodtithe Harvester to kill a creature during your first main phase. Go to combat, and re-cast Bloodtithe Harvester for free from your graveyard with Jarsyl. Jarsyl’s intensity moves to 3. Attack with Jarsyl. Play a 3-mana spell that enables you to discard (Crucias, Titan of the Waves, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, or Seasoned Pyromancer). Since the deck has a lot of 3-mana spells, you’re likely to discard a 3-mana spell to these effects.
Turn 5: Cast spells from your hand and also cast a free 3-mana spell from your graveyard with Jarsyl.
This type of game happens fairly often with the deck, is practically unbeatable against anyone if you’re on the play, and gives you a huge shot at gaining the advantage and winning on the draw. Jarsyl not exiling the spells it re-casts is actually quite important, as it allows any future Jarsyl you play to start the chain over again using the same 1-mana spell if needed, and keeps your graveyard full for Tarmogoyf.
Speaking of Tarmogoyf, while not a primary reason to play Jund over Rakdos, this iconic creature is a nice pickup once you do so. I remember when Tarmogoyf was a premier threat in Legacy, and when I acquired my first paper copy of the card around 2010, I felt rich! It turns out that a 2-mana creature that is reliably a 4/5 in most games and can grow to even 6/7 is still great! Overall, Jarsyl and Tarmogoyf make Jund a slightly more aggressive midrange deck versus Rakdos, which I personally like. The other main advantage is simply a larger card pool and thus more flexibility across the 75 cards, with options like Scavenging Ooze being a flexible metagame choice in the maindeck, and green silver bullets like Minsc in the sideboard for the mirror match and control. Green can deal directly with enchantments, which can be an advantage over Rakdos depending on what’s popular.
All that being said, the sacrifice of some consistency is certainly worth noting. Rakdos has smoother mana and always does something powerful no matter what, since all its 3-mana spells do something on their own without requiring specific other spells being played. Very rarely, Jund can suffer from two problems: getting color screwed or drawing Jarsyl when it does nothing. I have found both these problems to be rare, but they do occur. Once in a blue moon, you will draw Jarsyl without a 1-mana spell or another 3-mana spell to play instead, making it impossible to move to intensity 2 and turning Jarsyl into a vanilla 3-mana 3/3 until you draw a 1-mana spell to start the chain. However, Jarsyl is so scary that even when it’s doing nothing, the opponent will likely spend resources to kill it out of fear that it starts going off at some point, so it will usually at least trade for a card in these rare games.
7 Removal Spells: Having 7-8 efficient removal spells is critical in Historic midrange decks. The vast majority of decks play impactful creatures, from Hammertime to Izzet Wizards to other midrange decks. Fatal Push is the best available and needs no introduction. Molten Impact is fantastic at killing almost anything, and often provides a nice 2-for-1 by taking down two creatures using it’s latent damage ability. Most often this is useful for killing both creatures generated by Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, as you can use Molten impact to kill the Goblin token and save up 2 more damage to kill Reflection of Kiki-Jiki later on. This interaction is great, as it effectively deals with Fable’s threats for only 2 mana. I have liked playing one copy of Bloodchief's Thirst in the maindeck as an additional way to pick off small creatures early while scaling with the game and dealing with any creature or planeswalker with Kicker. Importantly, casting Bloodchief's Thirst with Jarsyl still allows you to pay 3 mana for the kicker!
Discard Spells: The exact number and mix of these two discard spells fluctuates across different Rakdos and Jund lists. I won’t claim that my preference of 4 Thoughtseize and 3 Inquisition of Kozilek is indisputably correct, but I’ve been happy with this mix given the other spells I want to run. While your best draws on the play usually involve casting a discard spell into a turn 3 Jarsyl, I haven’t felt compelled to run a fourth Inquisition because that would require cutting removal or a threat, which doesn’t seem worth it right now. Having access to these spells is part of what makes black midrange decks so universally good in game 1, as they can simply pick apart their opponents hand and leave them with cards easily answered with removal, or with expensive cards that the opponent won’t have time to cast.
2-mana Creatures: Bloodtithe Harvester is the truth, and its praises have been sung by many. Its value will certainly be immortalized in songs performed by bards for decades to come! Hyperbole aside, this vampire is good in every circumstance. It’s aggressive and can begin pressuring slower opponents, it acts as removal when needed, it leaves behind a Blood token to help filter your dead cards away, and it’s an amazing target for Reflection of Kiki-Jiki and Jarsyl’s abilities. I like running 3 Tarmogoyf and 1 additional 2-mana creature that I change depending on the metagame. Right now, Scavenging Ooze earns this slot as a flexible card that adds value in a lot of matchups. It provides life and a blocker against aggro that can grow to help close the game out, a threat against control that can exile pesky flashback cards like Memory Deluge, and incidental graveyard hate.
A good chunk of the Arena Championship Jund lists were running Dreadhorde Arcanist over
3-mana Spells: The 3-mana slot is the most crowded in Jund, as you’re spoiled for choice on powerful cards. Jarsyl is the main reason for playing Jund over Rakdos and leads to your best draws, so I advocate for the full 4 copies. Crucias, Titan of the Waves is another very busted Alchemy card that turns lands into spells, and other spells into better spells! Crucias is a huge factor in why BR midrange decks are so powerful, as it allows you to tutor for a 4+ mana spell by discarding a 3-mana spell. If you’re playing one card that costs 4 or more mana, you’ll always find it. This is incredible against linear decks like Goblins, Elves, or Heliod combo where Night of Souls' Betrayal is a trump, or against artifact decks to find Shatterstorm.
Because of the deck’s tutor package in the sideboard and always wanting to find Sheoldred, the Apocalypse in game 1, playing 4 copies of Crucias is my recommendation. Jarsyl and Crucias are the two most powerful 3-drops in a vacuum and I like maximizing both. This does limit the number of slots for the other 3-mana spells: Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Seasoned Pyromancer. I run a 2/1 split right now, which has felt good. Any combination will always be powerful and the exact mix is easily up for debate. While both Fable and Seasoned Pyromancer are incredibly powerful and it’s hard to say which one is objectively better, I lean towards Fable simply because it’s easier to cast in the Jund manabase and has an “oops I win” factor if you can get Reflection of Kiki-Jiki online.
Finisher: After much discussion with MTG Arena Zone’s Historic expert Altheriax (thanks Alth), I now agree on playing 2 Sheoldred at the top end. At first, I played 1 Sheoldred and 1 Minsc as my top-end finishers in Jund, similar to many Arena Championship lists. While Minsc is a very powerful card, it has a couple drawbacks. Costing 5 instead of 4 mana is a major drawback, as too often I would discard a 3-mana card to Crucias on turn 3, hit Minsc, and then fail to draw a fourth land and be unable to cast Minsc right away. This is a serious problem and often loses the game when it occurs. Because Crucias crucially (dad pun alert) creates a Treasure token when you use his ability, you can always play Sheoldred the turn after even with 3 lands in play. This consistency is the main reason to play only a single high-end card to find with Crucias in the main deck, and tips the balance in favor of the cheaper option. Additionally, both cards are very powerful on an empty board or when you’re already ahead, but Sheoldred is much better when behind as it’s much harder to kill than a Boo token and better against an opposing Sheoldred. Fairly often I would play Minsc and the opponent would simply spend a couple removal spells dealing with the Boo hamster token, then win the game in that window of time. I almost never wanted to sacrifice one of my other creatures just for damage. When you do create a 4/4 Boo token then get to sacrifice it for 4 damage and 4 cards the next turn it feels great, but it’s rarer than you might think and not worth the inconsistency. Minsc is powerful enough in specific matchups that he gets a slot in the sideboard.
Lands: All of the Jund decks in the Arena Championship 2 ran 24 lands, but Altheriax and I both agree that 25 is the correct number. The reason is simple: the deck MUST play its powerful 3-mana spells on turn 3 or risk falling very far behind. I have tried playing with 24 lands but ended up only drawing 2 lands a bit too often. I like playing 4 utility lands, split between creature lands, Boseiju, and Takenuma. The creature lands and Takenuma are quite good in attrition battles, and Boseiju bails you out in lots of games against pesky enchantments, artifacts, or other utility lands. Between Blood tokens, Crucias, Fable, and Seasoned Pyromancer the deck has a lot of ways to filter away extra lands so getting flooded is very rarely a concern.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
You’ll notice that in almost all matchups I am sideboarding out some or all of the main deck discard spells. Logically, you might think that this means they are bad cards and should just be cut from the main deck, but this isn’t true. Jund’s strength is its flexibility, and the discard spells are very flexible cards in game 1 that can help you punch holes in any opponent’s strategy. The other major benefit of including them in the maindeck is that it allows you to significantly improve your deck after sideboarding in matchups where they are sub-optimal, since cutting up to 7 cards gives you so much room for adding powerful sideboard options.
|+2 Go Blank||-4 Thoughtseize|
|+1 Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat||-3 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst||-1 Tarmogoyf (against Jund)|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict|
|+1 Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes|
|+1 Unlicensed Hearse (against Jund)|
First thing’s first: I think the targeted 1-mana discard spells are actively bad in midrange mirrors! This opinion is not necessarily shared by all, as every single one of my black midrange opponents on Arena have left their 1-mana discard spells in for games 2 and 3. I think the midrange mirror is all about MAXIMUM VALUE and games often go long! Midrange decks are packed with redundant, powerful cards and the game is usually decided by who has resources left over after the dust settles and who can draw more powerful cards off the top of their deck. Having 7 discard spells in your deck that are HORRIBLE top-decks later in the game is a major risk, and not one I’m willing to take just for the possibility of sniping a unique effect like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Some players think that casting Thoughtseize and making the opponent discard a creature like Crucias, Titan of the Waves is equivalent to using removal, but it is NOT the same! When you use Fatal Push to kill Crucias, for example, you’re gaining tempo by spending 1 mana and 1 card to answer 1 card that cost the opponent 3 mana. Nabbing a Crucias with Thoughtseize doesn’t force your opponent to commit resources, and in midrange mirrors they are very likely to have another powerful 3-mana spell to cast on their third turn so you often don’t punch a hole in their curve either.
In the mirror post-sideboarding, my opponent will cast Thoughtseize and my hand will be something like 3 lands, Bloodtithe Harvester, Fatal Push, Crucias, Titan of the Waves, and Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion. No matter what they take, they’re spending a card and 2 life to remove a card when I will likely have redundant, powerful cards to play the turn I would have cast it. This exchange doesn’t produce card advantage for them. Discard spells are at their best when they punch a hole in the opponents’ mana curve and force them to take a turn off casting spells, or remove a unique effect from your opponents’ hand you’re not equipped to deal with. Rarely, my opponents will use a Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek to nab a 3-mana spell when I don’t have a backup to play by my third turn. I’m sure they feel good about this, but that feeling is confirmation bias! Just because Thoughtseize can rarely punch a hole in your midrange opponent’s curve does not mean it’s worth having in your deck when the majority of the time it won’t be effective and will increase the number of dead draws you have in the late game.
The mirror revolves around having removal for threats and pulling ahead with card advantage, and often comes down to both players drawing off the top of their deck with an empty or stalled battlefield. To summarize, targeted discard spells do little against redundant decks and are actively bad in a war of attrition. Removal spells are better because they generally trade up on mana investment and gain you tempo, are good top decks, and can help come back from behind on the draw.
Go Blank, on the other hand, is an all-star in the mirror! By nature it is a 2-for-1, but its ability to exile the opponents’ graveyard is very relevant in most midrange mirrors. Against Rakdos it can get rid of a Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger and against Jund it turns off Jarsyl (at least for a while).
Minsc comes in to increase the density of must-answer threats, which is more important in the mirror than always finding Sheoldred with Crucias. Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat is another mirror-breaking card that, if unanswered, gains an insane amount of card advantage. Unlicensed Hearse is fantastic against Jund midrange as it vastly mitigates or completely blanks opposing Jarsyls and can help with everything from exiling Seasoned Pyromancer from the graveyard to dealing with Kroxa, if they have it.
|+2 Brotherhood's End||-3 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||-2 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst||-2 Thoughtseize|
|+1 Fiery Impulse|
|+1 Night of Souls' Betrayal|
If you haven’t already, check out Altheriax’s guide to this Tier 1 menace!
Goblins can be a tough matchup, as they’re capable of very fast starts that can run you over, but also have tools to grind into the late game. Muxus, Goblin Grandee is a huge threat that usually wins the game when it lands. Simply because Muxus exists and is their best way to win, you have to leave in some Thoughtseize in hopes of preventing them from casting it (this message is approved by Altheriax himself!). Besides that, you load up on removal and sweepers, and swap out Sheoldred, the Apocalypse for Night of Souls' Betrayal as a silver bullet that shuts them down. While Sheoldred isn’t actively bad, any time you’re bringing in a silver bullet that costs 4 or more mana, it’s more important to always hit it off of Crucias than to have Sheoldred in your deck. Even if you get Night of Souls' Betrayal in play, be cautious. If you’re very low on life, they can often still find a win by playing a lord card like Goblin Chieftain followed by a few other goblins and making one big attack.
|+2 Brotherhood's End||-3 Thoughtseize|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||-3 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst|
|+1 Fiery Impulse|
This deck got major upgrades from SIR in Drogskol Captain and Spell Queller. As it stands, this is an unfavorable (but not unwinnable) matchup. They pack a lot of cheap flying threats, and if you can’t keep up with them with removal you’ll have a hard time racing. On top of that, they have cards like Selfless Spirit and Drogskol Captain that can mess up your removal, plus Collected Company to pull ahead.
As such, discard comes out and removal comes in. Despite the threat of Collected Company and the temptation to leave in more Thoughtseize to try and snipe it, discard is bad against their redundant cheap threats and they can always just draw Collected Company off the top of their deck since they pack 4. As such, it’s better to load up on removal and pray they never get 2 Drogskol Captains in play! A timely Brotherhood's End can sometimes be enough to win the game.
Hammertime / Artifact Decks
|+2 Brotherhood's End||-4 Thoughtseize|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||– 1 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst||-2 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse|
|+1 Fiery Impulse|
I group the Colossus Hammer and artifact aggro decks together because our plan is the same: kill everything! These matchups are favorable, especially after you bring in a bunch of extra removal and Shatterstorm as a silver bullet to wipe them out.
|+2 Go Blank||-2 Molten Impact|
|+1 Unlicensed Hearse||-1 Bloodchief's Thirst|
|+1 Soul-Guide Lantern||-1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse|
Unlike midrange decks, discard spells are actually good against Kethis, the Hidden Hand combo decks. This might seem counterintuitive, because wouldn’t you rather just have maximum removal to kill all their creatures? Well, they rely on getting specific cards in play like Kethis and Jace, the Perfected Mind, and all their cards do something immediately when they come into play before you have a chance to use removal. They can activate Kethis as soon as it hits play, and if you kill it in response to the trigger it’ll be in the graveyard when the trigger resolves so they can recast it. The best strategy has been to try punching holes in their combo plan with discard, applying maximum pressure with threats, and bringing in graveyard hate to further this disrupt + race game plan. Go Blank can be completely backbreaking against them as it is discard and mass graveyard hate all at once!
Elves / Heliod Combo
|+2 Brotherhood's End||-2 Thoughtseize|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||-3 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+1 Night of Souls' Betrayal||-2 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst|
|+1 Fiery Impulse|
These decks rely on specific combinations of creatures being in play to go off, so extra removal is needed. Night of Souls' Betrayal is our silver bullet as it shuts down most of their deck.
|+2 Go Blank||-4 Fatal Push|
|+1 Duress||-2 Molten Impact|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||-1 Bloodchief's Thirst|
|+1 Rahilda, Wanted Cutthroat|
|+1 Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes|
Most control decks run some planeswalkers and/or top-end threat, so we take out the main deck removal and bring in Sheoldred's Edict as a catch-all instant speed answer to their finishers. Besides that, Duress and Go Blank help shred their hand and Rahilda and Minsc demand answers or else will end the game quite quickly.
|+2 Brotherhood's End||-4 Thoughtseize|
|+2 Sheoldred's Edict||-2 Inquisition of Kozilek|
|+1 Bloodchief's Thirst|
|+1 Fiery Impulse|
This can be a slightly unfavorable matchup as game 1 can be quite rough. After sideboarding it becomes much more even with more removal to help out.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Don’t forget to play Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion pre-combat! Plan out how you can move up the intensity chain. Remember that you can discard cards to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Crucias, Titan of the Waves, and Seasoned Pyromancer, and then get them back with Jarsyl. If you end up casting a 3-mana spell with Jarsyl and reaching Intensity 4, you’ll be able to replay a Sheoldred, the Apocalypse if Jarsyl stays in play. In that case you can be more aggressive in attacking and blocking with Sheoldred.
- In game 1, if you only have Fatal Push in your hand and no discard spell on turn 1, it’s important to play an untapped black mana source immediately, even if that means paying 2 life for an untapped shockland. It’s more important to be able to answer a 1 or 2 mana threat than to save the 2 life and risk not casting the Fatal Push if you could have. There can be exceptions to this rule, for example if you’re on the draw and your opponents’ first turn makes it obvious they are playing control or some other deck that is mostly immune to Fatal Push.
- Learn the in’s and out’s of triggering Revolt on Fatal Push to kill 3 and 4 mana creatures. Revolt triggers off any permanent leaving your battlefield prior to casting Fatal Push, including creatures dying, Treasure and Blood tokens being sacrificed, and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker when it hits chapter 3 and exiles itself to come back as Reflection of Kiki-Jiki. If it’s important to be able to trigger Revolt for Fatal Push in a given game, try to plan for it. In the midrange mirrors with two Sheoldred, the Apocalypse‘s staring at each other, any Fatal Push successfully cast on one Sheoldred will obviously allow the other player to cast Fatal Push on the opposing Sheoldred as well. If you’re really desperate, you can use the Legend rule to trigger Revolt; if you have a Legendary creature in play and an extra copy in your hand and you absolutely must kill an opposing 3 or 4 mana creature, you can play the second copy and then Revolt will trigger off one of them going to the graveyard. This is card disadvantage, but if that second Legend card was going to languish in your hand while you lose the game it would be better to 2-for-1 yourself and remove the threat.
- Fatal Push can be cast to target any creature at any time because it says “if it has mana value 2 or less”, and not “with mana value 2 or less”, meaning you can target something with mana cost 3 or more even if it won’t kill that thing. Rarely, this can be important to start increasing Jarsyl’s intensity. If you really need to get Jarsyl’s intensity to 2 and have only a Fatal Push in your graveyard for one mana spells, you can cast it with Jarsyl even if it doesn’t kill anything, including targeting your own 3 and 4 mana creatures (just make sure you’re not actually killing them!). The same applies if you have only Fatal Push and Thoughtseize in your graveyard but your opponent has no cards in hand; don’t lose 2 life casting Thoughtseize with Jarsyl when you could cast Fatal Push instead.
- The deck plays a high number of “fast lands”; Blackcleave Cliffs and Copperline Gorge only come into play untapped if you have 2 or fewer other lands, and Den of the Bugbear and Hive of the Eye Tyrant only come in untapped if you have 1 or no other lands! So, plan out the sequencing of your lands carefully. For example, if you have 2 fast lands plus a Blood Crypt or Stomping Ground in hand, consider whether it’s better to play the shockland tapped on turn 1 to save 2 life, or possibly pay 2 life for a shockland later in order to guarantee you cast all your spells on-curve. If you play the shockland first then subsequently draw a third fast land, you’ll be forced to play a land tapped and have restricted mana later on, but this is a case by case judgement call and matchups effect the decision.
- Don’t forget the extra text on Hive of the Eye Tyrant that exiles a card from an opponent’s graveyard when Hive attacks, or that Hive has menace!
- You might already know this, but do NOT try to make a copy of Den of the Bugbear or Hive of the Eye Tyrant (or any creature land) with Reflection of Kiki-Jiki; the copy will only be a tapped land and not a creature. This may be obvious to some, but I have seen plenty of Arena opponents try this to disastrous results.
- Discarding cards to Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is optional, but discarding cards to Seasoned Pyromancer is mandatory! That being said, you still get to draw 2 cards from Seasoned Pyromancer even if you only had 1 or no cards in hand when you play it.
- If you need to trigger Revolt on Fatal Push by sacrificing a Treasure token, make sure to manually sacrifice the Treasure token for black mana first! If you just cast Fatal Push first, Arena will default to using any untapped land for black mana instead of sacrificing a Treasure token for Revolt.
An Aside on the Statistics of Hitting Mythic
As a Magic player who is both very competitive and very, very busy with life, I have always thought about how to maximize the value of my time playing Arena. I also have an amateurish love of statistics and making spreadsheets (I’m no Frank Karsten). I wanted to understand how much time it would take me to achieve Mythic on the ranked ladder. To calculate that Time (T), there are many other variables involved but the two main ones are Match Win Percentage (W%) of a given deck when you play it, and average match duration (MT). We all play Magic because we enjoy it, and our enjoyment is the primary goal. Deck selection for most players (including myself) will primarily be driven by enjoyment, but ranking up to Mythic is also a big factor in what I enjoy about Arena. It’s fun for me to estimate how long it will take me to reach Mythic, and this can be done for any deck using either real data from Untapped.gg or educated guesses on W% and MT. Untapped.gg data provides a decks’ “Average Duration”, which is how many minutes an average game takes, and for your own decks you can get accurate average match duration by dividing your time playing a deck in minutes by your total matches.
My assumptions are:
- The goal is to go from Platinum 4 to Mythic, which equates to clearing 8 ranked tiers and 48 ranked pips (6 pips per tier). I start at Plat 4 because that will be my starting rank each season assuming I hit Mythic the previous season.
- I am playing Best of 3 Constructed, meaning each match win/loss will earn/lose 2 pips. This means that to clear 48 pips we need 24 Net Wins (NW, wins minus losses). Basically, you have to win 24 more matches than you lose in order to go from Plat 4 to Mythic in Bo3.
- An average match of Bo3 Historic lasts 2.75 games. This is a big assumption and will fluctuate based on deck selection, but based on my own experience I assume a match will conclude in 3 games slightly more often than it concludes in 2 games.
- Game and match duration data does not include time spent sideboarding.
To solve the Time it will take me to reach Mythic from Plat 4, I need to first solve how many total matches (M) I’ll need to play to reach 24 Net Wins based on a decks’ win percentage. The equation for this looks like:
M = 24/[2(W%)-1]
Using my own Historic Jund deck as an example, I currently have a W% of 0.68 (68%). Solving the equation, I’ll need to play 67 total Bo3 matches to earn 24 Net Wins. Knowing my average match duration is 0.257 hours (15.4 minutes) with Jund, it should take me 17.1 total hours of grinding Bo3 ranked with Jund to first hit Mythic from Plat 4. If I start the season at Plat 4 and have about 4 weeks in the season, I need to play about 4.25 hours per week to achieve this. 10 hours per week is my own personal expectation of how much I can play on average (sometimes more, sometimes less), so Jund is a good choice for me to use since I enjoy it a lot and I should confidently hit Mythic after a couple weeks.
Here are some more statistics from Untapped.gg:
- Historic Bo3 Izzet Wizards has a win rate of 61.2% and average game duration of 5.2 minutes. Using my assumption that an average match is 2.75 games, this equates to an average match duration of 14.3 minutes. Going from Plat 4 to Mythic will take 107 total matches and 25.5 total hours of play on average.
- Standard Bo3 Mono Red Aggro has a lower win percentage of 59% and a faster average game duration of 4.3 minutes (average match duration of 11.8 minutes if matches are 2.75 games on average). This deck will go from Plat 4 to Mythic in 133 total matches and 26.3 hours of play.
Due to the three color mana base and the power of Historic, I don’t recommend this deck in a budget version because you need all the rares and mythics to be competitive. If you look at our Bo1 Historic Tier List you’ll notice a complete absence of midrange decks. The reason for this is that midrange decks are inherently stronger in Bo3 because of how well-rounded they are and how much they improve after sideboarding by removing sub-optimal cards for very good cards in a given matchup. Historic Bo1 is a very polarized format, dominated by blazing fast aggro decks on the one hand, and various combo decks on the other (creature combos, reanimator, Belcher combo). Trying to beat both these strategies in a single game with a midrange deck is no easy task, but if you’re up for the challenge I would start by cutting Inquisition of Kozilek for a third copy of Molten Impact and 2 Kolaghan's Command, which are great against the many artifact decks and also good against aggro by being able to kill something and return a cheap creature from your graveyard to your hand:
If you want to play a fun deck that’s capable of winning against any level of competition and any deck, then give Jund a spin!
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